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tv   The Beat With Ari Melber  MSNBC  August 9, 2018 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT

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force. space force 5. maybe it's a trap and then again maybe it's our only hope. that's all for tonight. believe it or not, by the way, the trump campaign sent out a fund-raising letter to let you vote on the logo of the space force. we'll be back tomorrow with more "mtp daily" and find out the results of that vote. "the beat with ari melber" starts right now. >> was that an admiral akbar reference? >> it's a trap! it's a trap! >> happy to hear it. i'm a big "star wars" fan myself. >> a lot of good bothens died to get you this information. >> i feel like we're endear ourselves to only part of our audience, but "star wars" over "star trek" any day of the week. we begin with breaking news tonight. we can report the feds are moving forward on two fronts. the first is in the michael cohen case in new york and the other is based on new information we've obtained here on "the beat" from the mueller
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probe itself. i'm about to report it for the first time. we begin with what appears bigger, the michael cohen case. the feds now as of this hour have access to everything that they can legally use that they seized in the now famous fbi raid on michael cohen back in april. this is important because as you may have heard for months, there has been a process where an independent lawyer reviews all of the material, the documents, the files, the famous tapes, and figures out what's off limits. tonight for the first time, that review is done. we can tell you that. it means the feds can use everything that they have that hasn't been declared privileged through that process. this brings them much closer to what they do next. if they find a bunch of material that, for example, could clear michael cohen, well, they would go forward in that direction. that's not what legal experts expect, even michael cohen has talked about cooperation, which implicates this material and suggests that now that this process is over, that they move forward with what they found in the raid that michael cohen could alternatively face
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potential charges based on that evidence. that's number one. we bring that to you as the first news. the other breaking news i can report exclusively which is we've learned special counsel bob mueller has informed radio host and political activist, randy credico who's known for his past relationship with roger stone and julian assange, mueller has indicated that his office does intend to subpoena him to force an interview. we confirmed this from a direct source with knowledge of the special counsel's outreach to randy credico's attorney. if you watch this show and our reporting, some of this may be familiar because credico was on this show last night and explained the lead-up to all of this. he said publicly for the first time that he declined a request to participate in a voluntary interview that was made as a with when federal agents working for mueller approached him in new york. >> has bob mueller called you in to testify? >> they did. they actually didn't call me in, they actually showed up and asked me to come in and do a
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personal voluntary interview, which i did not -- >> who is they that showed up? >> somebody from his investigation. they asked my lawyer if i would like to go down and do a voluntary interview, and he said no. i didn't get a subpoena. they asked me for a voluntary interview. >> that was the news last night. the news right now is that mueller, according to our reporting, has now since the interview aired reached out and said they do intend to subpoena mr. credico. they want to talk to him. now, we don't know for a fact what they intend to talk to him about, but we have a pretty good idea of how he fits into this case. number one, he's involved in an area of investigative interest because of his repeated contact publicly with julian assange. number two, something we also discussed in our interview, credico has a long-time political history with roger stone. again, that doesn't mean we've confirmed the topics of the interview and mueller's office doesn't release that in advance, but we do have new information about a new person that they
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want to subpoena for an interview. with that i turn to our guest tonight, christina greer and john flanery and glenn kirschner. john, starting with you, what does it tell you as is so often the case in trumpland, the lawyers are on tv, the lawyers are discussing their deliberations with each other on one of their radio shows. last night this witness who's got ties as i've reported, randy credico discussed his history in the probe. after that interview aired, we learned tonight, we're reporting it exclusively for the first time that the office reached out during the interview and does want to subpoena him. >> i think rudy's run out of tricks. it's pretty bad where they have to be in an echo chamber where the two of them representing trump have to speak to each other as if they're having a distant organization conversation. attacking mueller and saying what he's doing is wrong by rudy giuliani is really upside down.
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giuliani was the gengis khan of prosecutors. and now mueller doesn't reveal what he's doing except in indictments and pleas and trials. he's being criticized by rudy. >> let me direct you, also why do you think mueller wants to subpoena randy credico? he sent these agents to new york and now wants to subpoena him. why is that of interest? >> i think he's trying to close the circle around roger stone. and since credico had access both to assange and to roger stone, that's an obvious line of questioning, i think. he wants to see what he has and i think that he probably will get something, because the arrogance of these participants is amazing. what they say to each other that inculpates them and what one did with the other. it also suggests that roger stone is perhaps in the batter's
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box with maybe trump junior and several other people. >> you're using a fancy word as you often do, inculpates for makes them look really suspicious and guilty. glenn, let me play for you the way mr. credico tried to limit his exposure to other people that could figure in as subjects or targets. this was on the subject of mr. roger stone. take a look. >> and you're in there as an associate, i'm not implying anything negative about you, but as a known associate of roger stone and julian assange. >> don't say associating of stone. i know stone. >> what word would you use? >> someone that has worked with stone before but not an associate. >> a former colleague? >> no. i've worked on a campaign or two with roger stone in the past. 16 years i've known the guy. >> it sounds like you're going up from associate, not down. >> glenn? >> so, ari, let me say something that you might not hear a lot of people say, but this is probably
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a good thing for randy credico that he's been subpoenaed. why do i say that? if he were a target of the investigation, it's very unlikely that bob mueller would subpoena him because there's a department of justice policy that says we -- i was a prosecutor for 30 years. we don't subpoena targets of the investigation. why? because they have a fifth amendment right against sel self-incrimination so we don't hand them a subpoena, force them to testify and incriminate themselves. what we do, though, as prosecutors is we invite targets in for voluntary interviews because they're not compelled to appear. so they are not -- we're not placing their fifth amendment right against self-incrimination in jeopardy. so in a strange way randy credico can count himself lucky that he's subpoenaed. >> john disagrees so much he can barely listen to your answer. i've got to get around the horn
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so, john, your rebuttal. >> all you have to do is tell them they're a target and, therefore, they have sufficient information to indict the person. once they know that, they still can decide to go in or not. the fifth amendment is not limited to targets. anybody, including mr. trump instead of this dance he's going through, he can say i'm going to take the fifth. he just doesn't take it for political reasons. so if a person is known to be a target and he's told he's a target, that's the end of the obligation of justice. these interviews are a mistake in my opinion but that's the southern district of new york method, or it was when i was there. >> i'll let glenn get back in a minute. but christina, i want to play roger stone, who according to glenn's analysis, would look to be in a more difficult spot. unlike what we're reporting tonight about credico, he has not been asked for an interview which looks more like he could be a target and he is pushing back. here he is in an interview last night. >> i'm also mindful that any prosecutor's ability to squeeze
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underlings to get them to compose testimony against a bigger fish. i have not been contacted by the special counsel's office. i have made it abundantly clear that there's no circumstances under which i would testify against the president. i would not rule out cooperating if they think i can be helpful. >> so this is not the president's first rodeo when it comes to lawyers and depositions, and it's clearly not roger stone's either. but this one feels different, and you can tell that they're sensing that something is off, right? as long as rudy giuliani was in the southern district, prosecuted lots of mobsters, we're not dealing with mobsters per se. we're not dealing with real estate agents in queens. what the president is going t try to do is make himself the hero and the victim. >> are you saying, dorothy, we're not in queens anymore? >> we're not in queens anymore. we're in the big leagues and this is something the president doesn't understand. so as he's been a grifter and a snake oil salesman for his entire career, he's realizing
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that this may -- this last con, this last grift, may have been a bridge too far. so mueller has been systematic, methodical, and as our previous guests have said, he's being very strategic. we've seen also in the past few years oftentimes the way to get to the biggest fish is to go through their son as well. we're seeing it with collins, we're seeing it with shelly silver in new york. we've seen it several times. and so i think the president, as much as he's trying to win in the court of public opinion and he has a solid base and obviously this is great red meat to say look at these democrats, look at these liberals going after me for something that is intangible and we haven't done anything wrong. maybe if we did, it's not that big of a deal. the goal post keeps changing. it's highly problematic because you're seeing the president get a little more nervous. you see these 6:00 a.m. tweets, these midnight tweets. the fact that this witch hunt keeps coming up in his desperation pretty soon. and so i think what a lot of americans fear is that in his
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efforts to self-preserve himself, he might engage us in certain international affairs that would harm the entire nation and/or world. >> and that goes to the stress. glenn, general mccaffrey is joining us later tonight. he says he doesn't think donald trump has ever operated under this level of stress and that can account for things that are scary. to christina's point, the associated press and other publications have talked about don junior. trump fearing that donald trump jr. could at some point be the one at trial. only donald trump and perhaps his closest family members know what they did and whether that's a trial that would end in exoneration or something else. >> yeah, i read "the new york times" article today with great interest. it does seem like the insiders are reporting that the president is really stewing and steaming and very concerned about the exposure that don junior might have. listen, nobody is going to make light of that because as parents we can understand that we are concerned for our children and
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we want the best for them. i do think that the president, however, may also find himself someday as a co-defendant with his son at defense counsel table. now, i don't know if bob mueller -- >> do you think that would be before or after the term of his presidency? >> well, ari, i don't know that bob mueller will take the narrow path to indicting a president that i think is arguably available. he would have to seek an exception to the olc memo that sets out as a policy matter that the department of justice doesn't believe a sitting president can be indicted. >> you're saying something significant and you're saying as a legal matter. i take your analysis to be not that you don't like donald trump or you disagree with his policies, but as a very seasoned federal prosecutor, you believe there is potential joint legal criminal exposure for him and his son. >> i do. and a pathway to get there even while he's sitting. but bob mueller might not want to go near that third rail. instead he might split the baby. he might return co-conspirator indictments against the others for whom he has found sufficient
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evidence of criminality and maybe author a report to congress about his findings concerning any potential criminal conduct by the president. or as we've all see it done before, albeit back in 1974, he could also include the president in a conspiracy indictment as an unindicted co-conspirator. >> take a quick listen, john, to rudy giuliani's interview if you already know the answers. >> he knows the answers to every question he wants to ask. he's going to ask him did you tell comey to go easy on flynn. the president will say, no, i didn't. hey, bob, you know it. why do you want to get him under oath? do you think we're fools? you want to trap him into perjury. we're not going to let you do that. >> john, you know this is an old southern argument, they call it kind of a trap house argument for perjury trapping the president. >> yeah, there's a big flaw there, which is he's in a way
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admitting that what trump is going to say is a lie. he's saying that if he says, oh, i didn't tell him that, putting him in conflict under oath as opposed to talking to the media that that would be perjury. well, so why shouldn't he be pru prosecuted for perjury? it's not a trap. he put his own son at risk by telling that story that he wrote about, oh, they were just talking about adoption. he's put his son at risk by telling that lie, perhaps convincing his son to do it. so i have crocodile tears for how he cares about his son. >> crocodile tears in the trap house. christina, keep it together, please. this is a serious news program. >> listen, we also know that this is a man who's a pathological liar. he lies about the number of floors on his apartments, he lies about how much he spent to build said building, he lies
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about how many tenants he has. this is someone who should never be under oath. we've seen snippets of his depositions where he can't answer questions because he doesn't have his glasses or he hasn't read it or he's just flipping through pages and he's stalling. >> which suggests he knows how much he's lying because he gets careful when he's under heat. let me fit in a quick break. john and glenn, thank you both for your legal analysis, very interesting stuff. coming up, there is fallout from the secret tapes of devin nunes obtained by msnbc and how he wants to kneecap the mueller probe. also news on the indicted republican lawmaker who vows to stay on the ballot. an interview with the democrat running to replace him tonight on our show. and i have a breakdown on the nra, dark money and why it matters more than ever. and that's not all. as i mentioned, a retired general who thinks donald trump's idea for a space force is a ninkumpoop idea. going new places. (oh!)
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it gives you super fast speeds for all your devices, provides the most wifi coverage for your home, and lets you control your network with the xfi app. it's the ultimate wifi experience. xfinity xfi, simple, easy, awesome. devin nunes is donald trump's biggest congressional defender on the russia probe and is now under fire not from critics but for his own words. caught on a secret tape first reported of rachel maddow admitting that he prejudges the mueller probe, that he sees house republicans as, quote, the only ones who can defend trump regardless of what evidence or crimes mueller finds. >> if sessions won't unrecuse and mueller won't clear the president, we're the only ones,
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which is really the danger. i mean, we have to keep all these seats. we have to keep the majority. if we do not keep the majority, all of this goes away. >> nunes was discredited as a russia investigator over ethics charges that he was coordinating with the white house. he claimed to recuse himself from running the probe. what's new here is that nunes is bluntly admitting how he views his partisan role. he's playing out a new calendar for when he wants to kneecap the mueller probe and assuring donors there is still a plan to impeach mueller's boss, rod rosenstein. so listen to this part because he says the key isimpis simply it kicks in after november. >> the senate would have to drop everything they're doing and start to -- start with impeachment on rosenstein. and then you take the risk of not getting kavanaugh confirmed. so, it's not a matter that any of us like rosenstein.
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it's a matter of -- it's a matter of timing. >> a major claim for the republican's intel chairman to make. a plan to undercut a national security investigation is just a matter of timing. nunes is laying out a strategy that is one part richard nixon, one part wyclef gene. saying republicans should hold back for now and be gone until november and then they can lash out at the probe after confirming their supreme court justice hand picked by trump. nunes did not know his words were being recorded when he was serenading the gop faithful at that private event. basically assuring them i'll be gone until november. i'll be gone until november. yo, tell my donors i'll be gone till november. now, nunes has not retracted this plan. in fact today his spokesman called the remarks that were caught on tape, quote, routine
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observations. now that's just false. there's nothing routine about admitting that you plan to engineer a first impeachment of a doj official overseeing a special counsel in all of american history. it is suspicious and telling that nunes wants to shut down this probe before even finding out if, say, americans are charged for conspiracy or espionage or colluding with foreigners. and that brings us back to a final line from "gone till november" which may apply more to mueller than nunes. commit treason, then i'll have a reason to hunt you down. now, we don't know if more crimes will be charged, but that would certainly be a crime that warrants hunting before or after november. back with me is christina greer as part of our serious news coverage and also with me is ty kelly, a former doj lawyer where she worked for, guess who, rod
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rosenstein. thank you both for being here. >> thank you. >> when you look at this plan as stated in nunes' own words, how appropriate would this be given the rationale that he states? >> well, look, you said it best, right? there's never been an impeachment of a deputy attorney general. i think there's been eight successful impeachments in the history of any brought by the house. but what's more interesting from a legal specter perspective is they're based on a run-of-the-mill subpoena dispute. i mean subpoenas are negotiated, narrowed, argued about every single day. in my criminal defense practice i probably talk about one every single week, about the scope and the breadth. you hear the saying the kitchen sink and that is part of the process, to try to narrow the scope, try to figure out the timing, try to figure out how appropriate it is and how many times you have to meet with people and it's a really normal
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part of the process. so for that to have escalated into impeachment is legally more the significant part. >> so there's the idea as you put it so well that this isn't a rational or meritorious reason. there's nunes outing himself as doing this pure lly politically and the question if they don't pull it off, does that get inside mr. rosenstein's head. since you worked with him, we're curious about your input on that. let's take a look at one of the times we saw him battle back against some of these partisan questions at a hearing. take a look. >> i am the deputy attorney general of the united states. okay? i'm not the person doing the redacting. your statement that i am personally keeping information from you, trying to conceal -- >> you're the pawboss, mr. rosenstein. >> that's correct of the and my job is to respond to your kwernz. we have, sir.
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>> i think the house of representatives will say otherwise. >> but your use of this to attack me -- >> mr. chairman, may the witness be permitted to answer the question. >> it's not personal. >> do you think these efforts even if they don't remove him would impact the way he does his job or intimidate him? >> no, absolutely not. rod rosenstein is rule of law. he takes his job as seriously as anyone. i think that he will continue to do everything he can to do his job with integrity and to move forward without the distraction and anything else going on in any sort of impeachment process or any other distraction. >> christina, your view of this, we've covered why it seems legally inappropriate. the politics of this at a fund-raiser as a midterm message for the republicans. >> it's really dangerous. obviously on this show and other shows people have compared the moment we're in to watergate. and i don't think that there's a comparison. i think that we're much deeper than that and a much more crucial time period. during watergate we at least had
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republicans who said there's something not right about this particular president, even though he's in our party and we will actually need to do what the constitution implores us to do which is uphold the separation of powers and serve as a check on the executive branch. we're not seeing that now. this is exactly what george washington warned us about in 1796 in his farewell address. he talks about hyperpartisanship and parties and how it will erode at the delicate fabric of american democracy. we're seeing just how fragile our democracy is because trump is leaning on the line of not just legality but what it means to be an american. >> you're making me wanting to go reread that george washington speech. will i feel better or worse? >> i don't know how you will feel, but you can sit in on my class on tuesdays this semester. >> i feel like we get to sit in on your class when you come here and bless us with your political science. but that's an interesting one and maybe we'll revisit it. >> i implore your viewers to look it over. >> fantastic, it sounds good.
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and you won't predict our emotions, that's fine. ty kelly, someone who's worked on these issues and with rod rosenstein himself, thank you very much as well. straight ahead in 30 seconds, indicted trump ally, congressman chris collins, says he's staying in the race despite these new charges of lying to the feds. his challenger is here when we're back in 30. and packages. and it's also a story about people. people who rely on us every day to deliver their dreams they're handing us more than mail they're handing us their business and while we make more e-commerce deliveries to homes than anyone else in the country, we never forget... that your business is our business the united states postal service. priority: you ♪ indicted trump ally, congressman chris collins, vows to stay in his race after being
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charged by the feds yesterday for insider trading and lying to the fbi. we are looking at a party that is increasingly defined by trumpism and its critics say that means criminality. the president is under investigation and hasn't been charged with anything but there are many other people that he picked that are his closest aides who are in serious legal trouble. michael flynn, who pled guilty, paul manafort is on trial right now, he was number one on the campaign. and then there's the former fixer, michael cohen. the news tonight being that the feds have gone through all his stuff. then there's the wider swamp questions. cabinet members like scott pruitt forced to resign over many ethics scandals. and then of course now there's the congress. could trumpism be a problem or a solution for republicans? there are signs that point in many directions. 538 says scandal-ridden incumbents have beaten their challengers on average by nine points. new york's most red district where trump won by 25 points is the home of indicted republican
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chris collins. and he was expected to sail on to his win. now the cook political report says they moved the race from solid republican to likely republican. translation, an indictment is not turning this race yet. so we go to the heart of the matter. democratic challenger nate mcmurray and a former clinton campaign aide and jess mcintosh as well. nate, is your view that you are now in a race where your opponent has been indicted but if you tell the truth according to the politics and the polling, you're still likely to lose? >> no, i think we're going to win. i think that mr. collins does not represent the people of ny 27. these are hard-working people. they deserve hard-working honest leadership. and i think there's going to be a backlash in november. i think the people here are embarrassed of mr. collins and they want a change. >> do you think he's guilty? >> i think this represents a series of bad behavior by mr.
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collins. this isn't news. what we saw yesterday has long been in the public record for over a year what he has done. and it represents a sign of the times and a sign of his behavior. to be honest with you, i'm shocked he was endorsed in the first place. >> you know what i've got to do when you don't answer the question, right? i've got to ask it again. it's a timely process. do you think he's guilty? >> i think we have rule of law in this country and he has to go to trial. do i think he's guilty personally? indeed i do. indeed i do. >> is part of your message to voters in this district that even if they prefer the republican party on certain issues, they certainly shouldn't prefer someone who happens to be a republican but is also potentially a felon? >> i think that's correct. i think that it would be hard for an honest hard-working american person to vote for this man. >> jess, i turn to you, as i have on other occasions when we benefit from your analysis in the trump era.
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i say, what are we talking about? >> i also think he's guilty. >> you do? >> and i also understand the rule of law and i am not taking that position. but as a political matter, what are we talking about when it's still likely incumbent with this much smoke? >> so the reason why i am so confident in saying that i think he's guilty before he's gone to trial is precisely because of what we were just discussing. this is a pattern of behavior. there shouldn't be a congressman coming in being the largest shareholder in an australian pharmaceutical company who then sets up some weird mary kay pyramid scheme to sell stocks from that company to his fellow republican colleagues and his own staffers. that behavior is already wrong and suspect enough that making the leap from that to insider trading is just sort of a hop over a very small ravine right there. so it doesn't even matter that we have him on tape seeing the e-mail and rushing to the cell
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phone to call his son six times. the behavior could not be any more guilty. but it's a bigger problem than just chris collins and i think it's going to affect the entire republican party right now. americans are understanding that too many republicans are in office right now to personally enrich themselves. whether it's through tax cuts or through supporting special interests or through more explicit measures, like some republicans seem to have not realized that you're supposed to do that very quietly and not loudly use your public office to enrich yourself. chris collins and the trump family frankly being the biggest examples of that. they seem to view their office as a way of making money for themselves. i'm a new yorker. an indictment in upstate new york is not the same as an indictment in staten island. in upstate new york, they're not going to like that. they're not going to like the fact that they voted him in so he could represent them and instead he turned around and tried to make money off of a weird australian pharmaceutical
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company. that's not what they were sending him to congress for. >> nate, take a look at collins endorsing trump. here he was at the rnc convention. >> i have the honor of seconding the nomination of donald j. trump as the next president of the united states of america. what's your message to republican voters in your very red district who still like that he did that and like trump, but may have second thoughts about him with regard to corruption? >> well, a lot of people love donald trump in this district. there is no -- that is a fact. and they love him because he said he's going to represent the forgotten man. now that's why mr. collins clings to him like a life preserver, because nobody believes that mr. collins represents western new york. he was arrested in his penthouse in new york city for selling talk to his friends in capitol hill. this is insane. this is someone who needs to be
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removed immediately or resign. he doubled down yesterday. it's a tragic thing for our region. >> very interesting to go right to the heart of the district that has been on everyone's mind since that big news broke scandalizing the political world yesterday. nate mcmurray, thanks for coming on "the beat," and jess mcintosh, thank you as always. coming up, retired four-star general warning donald trump's behavior is alarming and illogical, but first what bob mueller is learning about these connections between russia, the trump campaign and the nra. we have exclusive reporting, next. so to breathe better, i go with anoro. ♪ go your own way copd tries to say, "go this way." i say, "i'll go my own way, with anoro." ♪ go your own way once-daily anoro contains two medicines called bronchodilators that work together to significantly improve lung function all day and all night. anoro is not for asthma. it contains a type of medicine
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now to our beat special report tonight on a major policy challenge in our politics today. how does our expensive election system potentially make us more vulnerable to foreign espionage? this is not a partisan issue or one concerning only russian interference, although of course that is one way we are seeing the problem exposed right now.
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consider how millions of dollars made their way from russia to the united states through one of the most powerful political groups in america and one which swung into action for donald trump, the nra. which dropped $31 million on trump. that's more than double its investment in the previous gop nominee, mitt romney. now, the nra has every right to increase its spending and its long known for supporting conservative and gop candidates, but recent reports also show a long-term effort by russia to infiltrate the organization. all of this predating the trump campaign. the questions have gone into overdrive now that federal prosecutors indicted a russian, maria butina, for using conservative and gun rights groups to try to infiltrate and impact u.s. politics. that probe is separate from bob mueller and it's another sign that the legal and national security efforts to counter russian interference are significant, are not a witch hunt, and are much broader than 2016 and however you feel about it. now, tonight we note this is not the first time that experts have
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sought to get to the bottom of this vulnerability in the context of the nra. democratic senator ron wyden was pushing the nra all the way years ago and the group ultimately told him that since 2015, it had about $2,500 from people associated with russian addresses and played down the problem noting these were routine payments for membership dues or magazine subscriptions and that does sound small. also under the fairly weak federal transparency laws, the nra only has to tell the irs privately about the identities of donors who give over $5,000 a year. but even that little rule, they have been ducking that requirement. another public official took on that problem with the nra, then california attorney kamala harris. she is now a u.s. senator and she was pushing the nra in 2015 for failing to follow rules and pony up a list of financial information three years running,
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from 2012 to 2014. in fact the state of california now labels the nra has dling we -- dli delinquent. so what is the nra's response to these holes which are looking more suspicious given the new reports and pressure? we asked them directly for a comment. we have not heard back. and then it gets worse. the trump administration has now changed a rule so that the nra won't have to report any of these donations to the irs in the future. this is what campaign finance reformers call a big, dark money problem. now, that is the transparency side. that is what we would all see as citizens or journalists, or yadda yadda. on the investigative side, bob mueller can subpoena the nra's tax records and legal experts tell us it's highly likely mueller already has them from at least the years around the election based on the kind of moves he's been making. so it does go back to the famous phrase follow the money. we also know some of that money
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was spent as far back as 2013. that's when nra leadership jumped at the chance to visit moscow for a talk about gun policy. you can see the in. -- nra's former president. former because there was a sudden leadership shake-up that sent ollie north to lead the group. here they were in russia. >> the nra has 5 million members. we work with everyone both in the united states and of course here in russia. over the course of the last three years, i've hosted your senator alexander torshin at the national rifle association annual meeting. there are people that are more alike with americans than russians. there are hunters and shooters and we value the same type of things. >> that former nra president was talking about senator alexander torshin, a russian oligarch linked to putin who was able to actually get to donald trump jr.
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at an nra event in the middle of the campaign, spring of 2016, which brings us back to that new indictment. torshin was behind the very implausible russian gun group that the now indicted maria butina used for her influence campaign. >> now, the right to bear arms is purportedly a gun rights group founded by a senior member of putin's political party, called united russia. what's funny about that whole concept is that vladimir putin and his party, united russia, they don't actually support gun rights in russia. so why did they create this group that purports to promote that? >> putin doesn't support gun rights any more than he supports free elections to replace him. so our question tonight was this quite obvious front group a trick that was pulled on the nra or a trick that the nra was in on, and does the nra's multi-year efforts to hide their donors reflect a kind of a innocent reflexive secrecy for
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no reason, which is possible, or alternatively is it an effort to keep all this money in the dark because it would look way worse under the lights? we turn now to an expert who has been all over this, contributing editor to "rolling stone" tim dickinson has investigated the nra's dark money. your view of what we know now. >> well, it's remarkable. in april we did a report about butina and torshin and their efforts to infiltrate the nra over a decade. since we came out with that publication, torshin is now the subject of sanctions and maria butina is in jail without bail. but i think you've hit the nail on the head. was this a concerted -- did the russians pull the wool over the eyes of the nra or was the nra a willing participant in this? that's i think the open question that we're left with in this butina saga. but it is really interesting that right after butina was raided, the nra has a very
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orderly plan of succession and they disrupted that entirely booting out the guy who had been in russia with the nra sort of elite money raisers with butina and torshin and replaced him with oliver north. so it's looking a bit like a cover-up in that regard. >> that's why we're so curious about all your deep reporting on this because locally there are many cases that turn on people being stupid and at a distance people think there's a master conspiracy and in fact people were stupid, they were duped, they were greedy. but the nra is such a sophisticated political operation -- >> you give them too much credit. >> that's what i'm asking you. international in their ambition, did they have no idea that in an authoritarian country like russia, there's not a lot of people rooting for gun rights to help challenge putin? >> well, i mean they had a really high suspension of disbelief, and i think this attractive young russian who was in charge of this group was part of that. you look at unindicted
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co-conspirator alleged paul erickson, the 50-year-old who was allegedly in a relationship with this woman, and working with her. it just seems like a lot of these people got in deep and over their heads and got on a slippery slope. i don't think they quite knew where it was headed. >> but you're using a kind of artistic term, suspension of disbelief so it's kind of a cross between diehard and a honey pot situation and people just put out of their minds the fact that this doesn't seem like it would be a real group? >> yeah, i think they wanted to believe that the russians were in fact on our side, on their side. the russians were promoting gun rights. you, me, same, same. we all have the same interests. >> if that's right what you're saying, that would be good for the nra legally because what everyone thinks of their politics, that would be that they didn't try to do anything wrong per se. >> well, it's unclear, right, because then they were -- they had their top money people in moscow meeting with top russian
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policy makers and perhaps oligarchs. and so did they end up taking money willingly or through some sort of conduit? it could have been an llc like trump used to pay off the porn stars. same kind of vehicle could have easily brought money into the nra in a way that wouldn't have a russian address on it. so the nra's denials on this stuff are very -- you know, you wouldn't trust those much farther than you can throw them. >> and that's what we noted in our reporting in their failure to address the basics of this. yet some of our reporting reflects the idea they may have been duped and that alone might be embarrassing. there's a lot more here. you've been a big leader on it so i'm glad you're welling to come on "the beat" and tell us about it. >> my pleasure, any time. up ahead, my special guest spent 55 years of service in the armed forces and he says he is very alarmed right now. that's next. it's easy to think that all money managers are pretty much the same. but while some push high commission investment products, fisher investments avoids them.
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this is not normal, and we'll show you some bizarre headlines about how the trump administration is approaching the military. secretly outsourcing to three buddies at mar-a-lago. and now he is asking supporters to vote on what the logo should be. i am joined by retired four star army general barry mccafery he
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says he is looking at trump's behavior as alarming. and never encountered something quite like this. >> by the way -- >> to merely have an american presence in space, we must have american dominance in space. our adversaries have transformed space into a war fighting domain already and united states will not shrink from this challenge. >> and we didn't hear you before, tell us your thoughts on the space force and whatever else you wanted to get to. >> look, this is to turn to the space force, this is an interesting intellectual concept.
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debated endlessly. and actually a very bad idea. it is expensive and will take a decade or more to unravel space operations which are built into all the services and at the end of the day, i don't think congress is going to pay for it anyway. so secretary mattis had opposed it before, and there is some aspects of it that could probably be useful. and we have got some concerns i might add on international foreign policy. we don't want space militarized. a lot of issues to that and i think it is a nonsense idea and probably won't happen at the end of the day. >> what moved you to speak out? >> there is a lot of statements now that i deliberately chosen the word where the president
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came back from singapore and saying the north korean threat is now gone. the rudeness and uncivil behavior. calling them high school names, stupid and dummy. and i have never seen anything like this. if an army battalion commander were acting this way, we would take him out of command. never seen anything like this. never seen anyone act that way. it is alarming. >> and on veteran's affairs? >> well, poor veteran's affairs. second biggest department of government. if you get in the system, it is tremendous medical care, but unwieldy, bad leadership at the top, the poor president has been
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jerking the tiller on this thing. obviously they are allowing private business interests to intervene. there were political actors set over from the white house. congress has got to step in. this is not a partisan operation. this is support of veterans. they need steady wise leadership that stays in place for ten years to try and fix it. >> and so concerning especially given how much time has been spent talking about this problem and this report shows not a public interest on it. thank you as always. and we will be right back. the new united explorer card hooks me up. getting more for getting away. traveling lighter. getting settled. rewarded! learn more at
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we broke some news, talked about the news and out of time for news. that is the beat. and "hardball" started right now. >> will trump ever sit down with mueller? let's play "hardball." >> good evening, i am steve kornacki in for chris matthews. the public relation blitz from the president's top lawyer continues. rudy giuliani after rejecting special counsel mueller's request for a sit down


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